COVID-19 Survey

Experiences of Social Distancing during the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Survey

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many countries imposed social distancing measures. These have included keeping apart from other people when out, closing shops, restaurants, schools and workplaces, wearing face masks, stopping events, and requiring people to stay at home. People have also been told to self-isolate if they have symptoms or been exposed to the virus. These measures have had a huge impact on people’s lives all over the world. 

This project will investigate how these measures have affected, and continue to affect, how people think and feel about other people, society, and themselves. In order to do so, we have conducted an online survey in English, Japanese, and Spanish to allow people to describe in their own words their personal experiences, as they related to their self, to other people, and to the world in general, during times of social distancing. Topics include their experience of other people, everyday life, moods and emotions, the way time passes, how it feels not being able to move around freely, their sense of trust or doubt, and any experiences they may have had during this pandemic that seem new or strange. 

The collected corpus consists of subjective reports from 2,543 participants, comprising over 500,000 words. We will analyze it using both quantitative and qualitative methods, specifically by using computational techniques to analyze the written text (also known as “natural language processing” techniques) so as to guide phenomenological interpretation of subjective experience of social distancing. The novelty of this research is that we are thereby integrating methods from the social and computer sciences.

The Research Team:

Technical and Administrative Support:

  • Dr. Federico Sangati, Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University, Japan
  • Kaori Yamashiro, Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University, Japan

Contact Information

If you have a question, concern, or complaint, you can write an e-mail to the project coordinator, Dr. Tom Froese, at the following project e-mail address: